Sunday, July 11, 2010

"The Line" by Teri Hall

Summary: Since her father died, Rachel has lived near the Line--a border surrounding the U.S. (The Unified States) that separates it from the land beyond, the Away.  The Line is not just a border, but an force field that prohibits anyone from traveling between the U.S. and the Away.  Rachel has lived a quiet life with her mother and the cranky Ms. Moore, but one day Rachel receives a message from the Away asking for help, and she must decide whether to take the safe route or try to help.

Musings: The Line is a rather mild dystopian, and for being a book in a genre that is so popular right now, especially in young adult literature, it's not particularly unique.  The abuses of the U.S. government are pretty standard: restriction in free speech and travel, mandatory identification, the suppression of dissenters, and the pervasive fear of government power.  It's an extraordinarily simplified version of 1984, too general to have modern relevance and too vague to be affecting.

Rachel is a bland character who comes across quite young, even though I imagine she's supposed to be around 14 (though no specific age is given).  There's back story, but no real depth, to the relationships between Rachel, Vivian (Rachel's mother), or Ms. Moore.

The book is a short and quick read, but the pace still felt fairly plodding.  Some excitement does build towards the end, and there's a decent cliffhanger ending, but I don't think it'll be enough to have me picking up the sequel.

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